Greetings in the name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
This week we celebrate Pentecost (the 50th day), the day as Christians we attribute as the "Birthday of the Church" signified by the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
Pentecost is the old Greek and Latin name for the Jewish Festival of Weeks which can be found in the Hebrew Bible. It is called by that name in Exodus 34:22 and Deuteronomy 16:10. It is also called the Festival of Reaping in Exodus 23:16, and Day of the First Fruits in Numbers 28:26.
Jews traditionally read the Book of Ruth at Pentecost, as the story links with the grain harvest theme of the festival.
According to Jewish tradition, Pentecost commemorates God's giving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai, 49 days after the Exodus. Jewish texts derive this from a calculation based on Biblical texts.
The New Testament biblical narrative of Pentecost is given in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. Present were about one hundred and twenty followers of Christ, including the Twelve Apostles, his mother Mary, various other women disciples and his brothers.
Their reception of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room is recounted in Acts: And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
While those on whom the Spirit had descended were speaking in many languages, the Apostle Peter stood up with the eleven and proclaimed to the crowd that this event was the fulfillment of the prophecy ("I will pour out my spirit").
In the Episcopal/Anglican tradition we baptize and when there are no baptisms, reaffirm our Baptismal Covenant on Pentecost. This tradition comes from a reading of Acts 2:41: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls." Peter stated that this event was the beginning of a continual outpouring that would be available to all believers from that point on, Jews and Gentiles alike. Hence, the understanding that Pentecost is thought of as "The Birthday of the Church" and an affirmation of our call to welcome ALL into our community of faith.
Also, don't forget to wear Red to celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit!
See ya Sunday!
All Saints Messenger >